For my little girl, who just turned 2 and loves bananas, cinnamon & spice, this Banana Spice Cake did the trick. It's rich, creamy, lightly spicey, and chockfull of bananas!
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups cake flour (you can also use pastry flour)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
[Makes one 8-inch 4-layer cake]
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
3 Tbsps. flour
Pinch of salt
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. heavy cream
3-4 bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
3 Tbsps. confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and lightly flour the sides and bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans; know out the excess flour.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, mashed banana, and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together in a separate bowl. Stir into the banana mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
Spoon into the prepared pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 10 minutes. Unmold onto the racks and let cool completely.
While the cake bakes, make the filling; In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the milk until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan (be sure not to let it burn - burnt milk tastes awful!). Meanwhile, beat the sugar and egg yolks together in a small bowl. Beat in the flour and salt. Gradually beat in the hot milk.
Return the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and comes to a simmer. Lower the heat to low and continue stirring for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl, cover with a piece of plastic wrap pressed onto the surface of the custard, let cool slightly, and refrigerate (You may want to do a quick finger-dip just to be certain it's yummy.)
To assemble cake, split each cake layer in half. If the custard is too thick to spread, thin it with a little cream. Spread one-third of the filling and arrange one-third of the banana slices evenly on 3 of the layers. Stack the layers and top with the fourth layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Just before serving, make the topping: In a bowl over ice, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar and vanilla. Spread the whipped cream frosting over the top of the cake. Decorate if you wish!
Recipe adapted from Bradley Ogden.